Couple detained for sitting on runway, blocking flight in Beijing

A woman tries to persuade staff of the Beijing Capital International Airport to let her board a plane, on Sept 14, 2016.
A woman tries to persuade staff of the Beijing Capital International Airport to let her board a plane, on Sept 14, 2016.PHOTO: CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
A woman standing on the Beijing Capital International Airport runway because she missed her flight, on Sept 14, 2016.
A woman standing on the Beijing Capital International Airport runway because she missed her flight, on Sept 14, 2016.PHOTO: CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A couple who forced their way onto a runway and delayed a flight after missing the last boarding call will be detained for five days, reported Chinese media.

The flight, CA1519 from Beijing to Shanghai, was due to take off at 9.30am  on Wednesday (Sept 14). But it was delayed for about 20 minutes as the couple refused to listen to crew members and blocked the runway until they were taken away by police, said Beijing Youth Daily.

They claimed that they missed the flight because they were not informed about the boarding time, but their allegation proved to be false as the departure time and boarding time were both printed on the ticket and broadcast through the airport announcement service.

According to Chinese law, severe violators like them who block runways or disrupt flight departures can be detained for five to 10 days and fined 500 yuan (S$103).

Similar delays to air travel have previously occurred in China.

In March this year, a China Southern flight from Chengdu to Urumqi was held back by about an hour after a passenger opened the emergency exit right before departure so that he could get some fresh air. The same excuse was used by a passenger who opened the emergency door on a Xiamen Air flight in 2014.

Last March, a man on a flight out of Urumqi opened the emergency exit because he thought the door handle was like a bus handrail. He claimed he did not know that the door would swing open.

In another incident last January, passengers in Kunming open the emergency exit doors right before take-off, in protest of a seven-hour flight delay that culminated with the in-flight air-conditioning being turned off. The authorities detained 25 passengers.